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Good Man Friday

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Overview

New Orleans, 1838. When Benjamin January suddenly finds that his services playing piano at extravagant balls held by the city's wealthy are no longer required, he ends up agreeing to accompany sugar planter Henri Viellard and his young wife, Chloë, on a mission to Washington to find a missing friend. Plunged into a murky world, it soon becomes clear that while it is very possible the Viellards' friend is dead, his enemies are very much alive - and ready to kill anyone who gets ...

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Good Man Friday

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Overview

New Orleans, 1838. When Benjamin January suddenly finds that his services playing piano at extravagant balls held by the city's wealthy are no longer required, he ends up agreeing to accompany sugar planter Henri Viellard and his young wife, Chloë, on a mission to Washington to find a missing friend. Plunged into a murky world, it soon becomes clear that while it is very possible the Viellards' friend is dead, his enemies are very much alive - and ready to kill anyone who gets in their way.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Well-drawn characters populate this fascinating entry in the long-running series"
Publishers Weekly
Historical horrors abound in Hambly’s excellent 12th Benjamin January novel (after 2011’s Ran Away). By showing compassion for a dying fighting slave, January—a free black man and surgeon–turned–piano player in antebellum New Orleans—loses his musician job. To support his family, he agrees to help wealthy planter Henri Viellard (whose mistress is January’s sister Minou) locate a missing friend—elderly English mathematician Selwyn Singletary. Along with Veillard, Minou, and Viellard’s chilly wife, Chloe, he travels to a decadent Washington, D.C., inhabited by slave stealers, grave robbers, spies, and venal legislators. Hambly’s brilliantly conceived cast includes a young Edgar Allan Poe, a sinister British spymaster, a New England abolitionist promoting an early form of baseball, and a courageous and loyal slave named Ganymede Tyler, the eponymous “Man Friday.” Hambly brings back to life a world where Congressmen obliviously pass chained men without a glance, forcing her readers to wonder painfully with January, “Jesus, where are you now?” Agent: Frances Collin Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
“Hambly brings back to life a world where Congressmen obliviously pass chained men without a glance, forcing her readers to wonder painfully with January, “Jesus, where are you now?””
Publishers Weekly Starred Review of Good Man Friday

"Well-drawn characters populate this fascinating entry in the long-running series"
Booklist on Good Man Friday

"Mid

Library Journal
Times are hard in 1838 New Orleans; with the end of the Bank of the United States, people are cash poor. Benjamin January, a French-trained physician–turned–musician and a free man of color, is having a tough time supporting his family. So he agrees to take on an assignment from Henri Viellard, the white protector of his sister Dominique, to go to Washington and look for a missing friend. January must deal with dangerous people and situations as he conducts his search. Hambly (Ran Away) delivers a skillfully woven blend of fact and fiction to create Benjamin January’s world, and she fills it with well-drawn characters. Kirsten Potter adds much to the listener’s enjoyment with her deft performance that makes you want to keep listening.

Verdict This is a strong series entry that will appeal to fans of both mysteries and historical fiction.—Cynthia Jensen, Gladys Harrington Lib., Plano, TX
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Benjamin January, free man of color, leaves New Orleans for the iniquities of Washington City. Desperate for work, Ben (Ran Away, 2011, etc.) agrees to accompany Henri and Chloë Viellard north to search for their vanished friend, mathematician Selwyn Singletary. Also included on the trip are Henri's mistress (and Ben's sister), Dominique, her daughter Charmian, her maid and many trunks of silk petticoats. Upon landing in Washington, the blacks settle into a rooming house while the Viellards establish themselves at a whites-only hotel. Nobody, however, has seen hide nor hair of Singletary for the months since he arrived from England. Not Oldmixton, the British embassy secretary; not Luke or Rowena Bray. But Bray's valet, Mede, admits that the man entrusted him with a ledger, though he can't decipher what it says: It's just a series of numbers that make no sense. While trying to puzzle out matters, Ben must avoid the Fowlers, notorious slave snatchers, waylay grave robber Wylie Pease and learn a rudimentary form of baseball, which is illegal for blacks to play. Edgar Poe, a Baltimore gentleman come to Washington in search of work, is staying at Ben's boardinghouse. Poe, who thrives on solving codes, joins Ben in pursuit of Singletary. They end up combating a spy ring that plots trouble for Canada and visiting a private mad asylum where doping is the rule of the day. Before all is resolved, Ben will be wounded in a skirmish with the slave snatchers, Dominique will be kidnapped, Mede will have his throat cut, and a woman will try to murder her husband and claim his death a suicide. Mid-19th-century sexism and racism galore, presented with Hambly's usual verve and historical accuracy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847514707
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2014
  • Series: A Benjamin January Mystery Series , #12
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 199,647
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Hambly holds a degree in medieval history from the University of California and has written novels in many genres, from mysteries to science fiction and fantasy. Married to science fiction writer George Alec Effinger, she lives in Los Angeles and teaches at a local college.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Best installment to date!

    I love this series! You can' t help but to fall in love with the historical treasures Ms. Hambly creates! Can not wait for the next one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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